I went everywhere with it. It went everywhere with me. From the time I was 5 until I turned 22 I had it at my fingertips.
Daddy told us (my three brothers and me) we could get a job or we could put the same amount of hours, sweat, and work into ball. We all chose ball.
I showed up. Or should I say “we” showed up. Daddy and me.
Before school you could hear the rubber bounce on the hard concrete as the sun came up over the oak trees. Ball in my hands, laces tied, pony tail high. Black coffee in his hand, balanced on the lawn chair.
The final school bell would ring. My sports bra would go back on and he would meet me at the gym. Ball handling, form shooting, fine tuning skills, conditioning.
Weekends, Spring Break, hot summer nights, cold Christmas Eve’s —> we were in the gym together, we were watching film, we, we, we ... Some called it an obsession. But to do anything at a high level it has to be total obsession.
When it came time to compete with someone (outside of myself) the underlying factor on if it was a “good game” was not determined by if I had fun or if our team won.
Reason being: Hard work isn’t always fun. Hard work doesn’t always give immediate, tangible rewards. Hard work can cause tension among peers. Hard work turns a level playing field into an uneven one.
The standard of a “good game” was based on effort. Giving the maximum amount of effort. Every single play. Every single minute. For a full 40 minutes. Out working all other nine players between the lines. Each and every possession.
Because ultimately we know The Gospel Truth - ALL hard work brings a profit. Might be tangible might be intangible. But it will bring a profit.
I’m no longer in that season of life but the same two questions come to mind when I show up to the “game”. Did I outwork everyone prior to showing up? Did I deliver maximum effort during the entirety of it?